Chicago Bears: Is Adam Shaheen era finally over?

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images /

With the Chicago Bears placing tight end Adam Shaheen on injured reserve, his 2019 season is officially over. His career in Chicago is unofficially over as well.

Having played on Thanksgiving Thursday, the Chicago Bears have Sunday free in Week 13. That didn’t stop them from making roster moves, however. They placed defensive back Sherrick McManis on injured reserve and signed offensive lineman Cory Levin and tight end Eric Saubert to the team. Additionally, they also placed tight end Adam Shaheen on injured reserve.

That move ends another unsatisfactory season for the player also known as “Baby Gronk” who had so much expected from him when the Bears drafted him in the second round (45th player picked overall) of the 2017 draft.

Shaheen played in eight games this season, recording eight catches for 74 yards and zero touchdowns. Not exactly glowing numbers for a player chosen so high. His career numbers aren’t better. He has 26 catches in 27 career games, amassing an incredible 249 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns.

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Injuries derailed Shaheen’s career. Out of 48 possible games in his three seasons in Chicago, he’ll miss 21 of them. To say that he’s been a disappointment is an understatement.

In addition to the injuries, we learned this season that he lacked a good work ethic. He was a healthy scratch in the Bears’ Week 10 game against the Detroit Lions. After the game, reporters asked head coach Matt Nagy about Shaheen’s status, per NBC Sports Chicago:

"“We want all of our players to be able to be completely detailed and play hard and do everything they can to be the best player they can be.”"

Not a ringing endorsement, is it?

The Bears, general manager Ryan Pace in particular, have to admit that drafting Shaheen so high was a mistake. Players like JuJu Smith-Schuster, Alvin Kamara, Cooper Kupp, and George Kittle were all available. The Bears could have picked one of them and still pick up Shaheen later.

How bad has Shaheen been in Chicago? In the 21 seasons between 1999-2019, there were 136 tight ends chosen in the first three rounds of the draft. Shaheen’s 26 receptions rank 111th.

The Bears need to decide what to do with the tight end spot in 2020. The unit has been a mess this season. They were supposed to have a good duo with Trey Burton and Shaheen. Burton has missed most of the season recovering from sports hernia surgery in the offseason and a calf injury that landed him on injured reserve as well.

Burton is just about guaranteed to come back since he is in the second season of a four-year deal. His dead cap money would be at least $5.75 million so the team will try to make sure he’s over his injury situation.

The question now is if Shaheen’s time with the Chicago Bears is over. The team would have just over $609,000 in dead cap, which isn’t a big amount. After that, they’d have over $1.2 million in cap relief.

The tight end position is critical for a quarterback to have success. The tight end provides the quarterback a big target and that comes in handy in red zone situations. Some point to the lack of production from the tight ends that part of the reason for Mitchell Trubisky‘s troubles this season.

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The writing is on the wall. With his injuries piling up and the apparent loss of confidence from the head coach, it doesn’t look like Shaheen’s return will happen in 2020. Both parties need to part ways and enjoy success in other situations.